Reported by Will Greer (FAKE-SPN)
Let’s take a look at the latest power ranking’s as we find ourselves well settled into the debut season of the WSBA…
1.Chicago Bison (21-1). There can be no doubt with the number one spot. The Bison have been relentless in their assault on the league as Justin Brown and company seem to be making a mockery of their opponents. Special mention must be made to the Spartans who took down the Bison on home soil to leave the Bison so close to a near-perfect start in the WSBA season.
2. Oklahoma City Twisters (18-2). We’re not much more than a month and a half into the season but is it too early to call a Bison – Twister finals? The Twisters led by (arguably the best duo in the league) Shota Sumbatashvili (PG) and Shon Roberts (PF) have consistently led the West and you’ll do well to find a team coming close if they maintain their current levels.
3. Boston Irish (14-6). Credit where it’s due, the Irish were tipped to be play off contenders before the season commenced and they have certainly made a start that strengthens that view. Questions remain over the teams depth however, but for as long as John Stackhouse keeps averaging 28.2 points per game (good enough for fourth overall in the league) the Irish will maintain their pursuit of the run away leaders in the east.
4. Toronto Dinos (15-6). The Dinos find themselves off to a very respectful start to the season with only the Bison notching more wins in the east. The Bulgarian bull dozer, Dimitrova (C), has lit up the east with his hustle on both ends of the floor which will only further propel him towards an all star appearance.
5. Memphis Roar (15-6). The Roar find themselves boasting the third best offense in the WSBA spearheaded by Tyler Cleaver who has already notched an impressive 8 player of the game awards in the process. Many had the Roar scrapping towards the lower end of the play off spots in there off-season predictions so many fans of the league will be intrigued to see whether they can maintain their impressive start.
6. Golden State Spartans (16-7). Any team that can say they’ve beaten the Bison this season have got to be taken seriously. This Spartan team did exactly that and only enhanced their reputation as a team built off their tremendous work ethic proving that ability isn’t the only factor (although the presence of Lee Taylor at PG has certainly played a huge role in their early season success).
7. Philadelphia Freedom (15-7). The Freedom, led by the majestic Warren (PG), find themselves hunting down the leading cast in the East. Much is said about the ease of being the hunters over being the hunted, but the Freedom will be hoping that their perfect start at home (10-0) will help keep them in touch and consolidate their playoff credentials whilst scrapping for second seed in the East.
8. Washington Americans (14-6). For as long as Clarence Hopper remains at the franchise, it’s hard to keep the Americans out of the discussion. The Americans can’t be unhappy with the start and will remain hopeful of pulling away from a congested playoff pack in the east buoyed by the performances of Hopper who finds himself with 13 player of the game awards after just 20 games.
9. Brooklyn Hoops (13-8). You wouldn’t have found many tipping the Hoops for a strong playoff run but after 21 games, they find themselves well in contention for an early season run at a play off spot. They find themselves with the fourth best Offensive rating in the WSBA but many will be looking towards their defense that could limit their ability to maintain their early season success with an unflattering rating of eighteenth in the WSBA.
10. Utah Blues (13-9). Bootsy Midgley. It’s only appropriate to start with the best name in the WSBA as the centre provides a flawless start to his WSBA season for the blues. Midgley has contributed in every area and has inspired his team to fourth seed so far in the West. Few will be surprised to see the Blues making a solid start, which could only snowball into a hugely successful season for as long as Midgley stays healthy.
11. Houston Blast (12-9). With many tipping the blast to miss out on a playoff berth this year, their fans will be thrilled to see them riding in the top half of the West. Although they don’t yield any superstars, the Blast have shown that chemistry and good intensity in their offense is enough to make movements in the early part of the season. With questions marks still looming over their defense, a close eye will be kept on the Blast who will be looking to remain in contention.
12. Los Angeles Commodores (13-9). They’ve been enduring a start that has thrown up little surprises ever since they acquired the trade of the season so far in the shape of Winston Luton from Denver. Many would have considered them as play off hopefuls but GM, Reed Vasko, must be given credit for that piece of business which has only widened the discussion around how far they can continue to climb.
13. Atlanta Eagles (10-12). The Eagles will have one of the happiest fan base if you compare their start to the expectations held before the season tip off. The emergence of Patrick Thomas (PF) and the backcourt duo of Alex Cunningham (PG) & Nick Sharp (PG) leave the Eagles enjoying a start that few would have envisaged. They’ll be hoping that their defensive hustle that see’s them boast the second most steals per game in the league will give them a foundation to build upon their fantastic start.
14. Minnesota Coyotes (9-11). The Coyotes led by guard, Gregory Willis, have been ticking along at a steady rate. They impressed in victories taking down the likes of the Blues, the Spartans & the Blast on home turf but their inconsistencies in their defensive sets mean they find themselves a long shot for the seeding positions. It goes without saying that the season is still young though.
15. New Orleans Condors (12-10). The Condors find themselves with a solid start blighted by inconsistency. An example of this would be their ability to win four games on the bounce only to follow that up with losing five consecutive games. They have a rich bank of backcourt talent with the likes of Nate Clark, Damian Turner & Curtis Gipson but Condor fans will be homing they can iron out the bad runs and find more consistency to help climb towards the top seeds in the west.
16. Cleveland Knights (8-12). It’s been a tough start for the Knights. Exacerbated by the injury to their star man Marvin McDonald (PF) who is out for well over a month with a broken nose. His average of 23 points per game will leave a huge hole in the Knights ability to keep in touch with the top half of the East. The Knights fans will remind us that there is plenty of time left in the season and provided they don’t fall too far away, will hope that McDonald’s return will spark a late season playoff push.
17. Portland Pioneers (10-12). The Pioneers start can only be described as somewhat underwhelming to say the least. Many had them tipped to be challenging for the top seeds in the Western conference but currently, they find themselves languishing outside the playoffs. If you take one look at their shooting percentages, you may quickly realise why they find themselves in this position. Can star man ,Brendan Chambers (PG), inspire the rest of the team to put their early season woes behind them?
18. Miami Burn (9-12). The Burn, who have been heavily influenced by Larry Logan (PF) and his strong start to the season, have made a start that represents many of the predictions made before the season commenced. A string of losses could see them fall quickly down the seedings but then again, the momentum that several wins on the bounce would bring would help with an outside shot of the playoffs this season.
19. Phoenix Suns (10-11). You’ve really got to hand it to Head coach, Bill Richardson. He’s bringing out performances from his team that many didn’t think were possible with the roster available to them. But so far, they find themselves in the last playoff seed in the West and although there is plenty of the season left to be played, many will hoping that the Suns, the league’s feel good story, will be able to continue to surpass expectations.
20. San Antonio Outlaws (7-15). I think it’s fair to say that this season always had the look of a rebuild for the Outlaws. They have solid players in the form of Adam Bratton (C) & Carl Shueller (PG) but they lack a lack player that can take them to the next level. With plenty of cap space, they’ll be looking towards next season’s free agency to make a move that could solve the missing piece the team is looking for.
21. New York Metros (8-14). The Metros find themselves with a start that matches the quality of their roster. With the major exception of Jon Watkins (C) who at 23 years old, is showing immense promise giving hope for the franchise that in seasons to come, they’ll be able to build around his huge potential and put themselves back in the mix.
22. Orlando Mystics (8-12). It was always going to be a difficult start to the WSBA for the mystics. Their roster struggles to make a case for any kind of run at the playoffs but their start represents an opportunity as after 20 games, they’re not far off pace set by the top half in the East. Statistics will highlight their vulnerability, with a field goal percentage only good enough for twenty sixth out of the entire WSBA, the Mystics will know they’ll need to improve to move them within the playoff discussion.
23. Milwaukee Moose (7-15). The Moose seem to have picked up nearly the same amount of injuries as they have defeats so far this season. The two of course go hand in hand as the Moose have struggled on the court trying to find rhythm and no wonder with their constant bad luck trying to keep players healthy. They have already lost Roger Berlin (C) for the season with a torn MCL but with a healthy Sean Foreman (PF) scoring for fun, you won’t see many pundits and fans writing off the Moose just yet.
24. Indiana Racers (6-15). In the Racers, we see one mans effort to almost single-handedly carry the team over the line in games. Brent Delea (SF) has been that man. The forward is currently 2nd in points scored by game in the league with 29.8. Looking at the standings with only the Wasps having a worse record in the East, it will be quite worrying for Racer fans to think about a scenario where Delea was no longer in the equation.
25. Detroit Gears (9-13). The Gears are enjoying a start to the campaign that will be turning the heads of all those who had written them off before the season tip off. Jeff Lyles (PF) contribution has been huge in Detroit’s offense, contributing an average of 28.0 points per game. With plenty of games left in the season, the Gears will be hoping to continue to surprise fans and pundits alike as they surge towards the top half of the conference.
26. Dallas Rangers (8-13). Jerry Riggs (SG) has been doing his best to provide some cheer to the Rangers fans this campaign. 30.1 points per game will see him take his place as league leader as he continues to be ice cold with his impressive shooting range. For all that could be said about Riggs, his teammates have been shooting blanks which may explain his increase in shots attempted this season which has translated in his best form to date. Riggs will be hoping that his teammates are ready to put their early season struggles behind them to mount a run towards the teams above them in the east.
27. Charlotte Wasps (5-18). The Wasps find themselves exactly where they were tipped before the seasons tip off, rock bottom. Similar to the Moose, they have been rocked by injury which hasn’t helped a roster that was already missing quality to provide their fans with any kind of optimism for the season ahead. You can’t help but feel that the Wasps, like the Peaks, will already be looking towards their rebuild in the off-season.
28. Sacramento Royals (6-14). The Royals will be reflecting on their start to their season with not much optimism for the rest of the calendar. With a struggling offense and a leaky defense, it hardly provides a winning formula which has reflected in a poor start for the Royals. Guard, Ryan Sankes, deserves recognition for his contribution with his shooting and steals made at the other end of the court.
29. Denver Peaks (3-16). GM, Terry Brooks, signing off the trade of Winston Luton to the Commodores before the season even began provided an insight into what this season would represent for the Peaks. Having only won 3 games, the lowest in the WSBA, it will come as little surprise to many that the franchise already have one eye on the off-season which will represent a significant rebuild for them.
30. Los Angeles Waves (5-17). The Waves carried little expectations going into the debut WSBA season and their record will highlight why. The Waves fans can be excited however, to watch the development of Kyle Jordan (C), Gregory Guinn (PF) & Nashon Fife (SG) over the course of the season as they continue to work towards achieving their thrilling potential and increase the credibility of the franchise in years to come.